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"To do something to instruct, but more to undeceive, the timid and admiring stndent;
Fragment on Government.
• The NoncoNFORMIST. No. XXVI.
Mahometan Influence on Christian Literature and Opinions. A CCIDENTAL circumstances ity, than the inveterate hostility which
A have of late occasioned me to was subsequently the result of the Cruderote considerable attention to the sading wars, would, at first sight, inliterature, customs and opinions of duce us to suppose capable of having the inhabitants of the South of France, ever existed between the rival folamong whom arose the first blossoms lowers of such widely different faiths. of the modern European, as opposed In the earliest period of Mabometan to the classic school of poetry, and proselytism we may, I think, very on whom the Arabian spirit of lite- safely conceive it possible and probarary enterprise is generally considered ble, that even among many who refused to have exerted so much influence. to acknowledge the miraculous misIn these inquiries it has often struck sion of the Prophet, the corruptions me as, at any rate, rather a curious of the church, and the corrective tencoincidence, that the same people who dency of the new opinions, would took the earliest strides in the pro. neutralize opposition if they did not gress of literary and political civili. conciliate inclination in favour of the zation, should also be the most pro- Reformer, a character on which it minently fixed with the stigma of appears that he long rested his claims heresy for opinions little understood, on public consideration. On the other but certainly in many respects bearing hand, policy, as well as a congenial the marks of a very peculiar origin. feeling of opposition to the vices of The result has been an endeavour to the Christian establishment, would draw up a few remarks on the influ- dispose the triumphant Mahometan ence which the various connexions of to protect and encourage those sects Europe with the Arabian schools of which it found most widely opposed manners and science can at this dis- to the prevailing corruptions. Certain tance of time be discovered to have it is, that they tolerated, encouraged, exercised; and though the following and even zealously fought for sectarians observations are only put together who were in open rebellion to the hastily to meet the present occasion, Greek Church, and particularly those they may, perhaps, at least, suggest who were stigmatized as favourers of some points of inquiry, and supply a Gnostic and Manichæan heresies, and sort of sequel to the remarks which I who, under the later epithet of Pausubmitted on a former occasion. Ticians, every where signalized them
I then briefly noticed the brilliant selves by the purity of their practice, progress, particularly in Spain, of the if not by the simplicity of their creed. Arabian poets, philosophers and me. The orientalism of the peculiar dogtaphysicians, at a period when all mas of these sectarians would doubtChristian Europe was sunk in the less tend greatly to soften the distinclowest depths of ignorant sloth; and tion between them and their protecit remains for me to call your atten- tors, and it would be very easy to tion to the influence which they exer- point out several obvious coincidences cised during the early ages on the in the results which each deduced theological opinions and divisions of from the topics of their most favourite their contemporaries and immediate speculations. successors, and to the circumstances With the Jews the same feelings which seemed to mark that influence seem to have early operated to prowith the character of toleration, as well duce among the learned professors of as of freedom in speculative inquiry. the Mahometan faith, during the days These, I think it will be plain, facili- of its literary greatnesz, a courteous tated a much more cordial feeling, on reception, a zealous union in the culthe part of the professors of Christian- tivation of common pursuits, and an